Verjus Restaurant, Paris, Vegan Dinner

Martin-Lane and I are vegan vegetarians– we eat very well.  Paris is no exception we have our favorite bakeries, street food, markets, cous cous restaurant, Vietnamese food, falafel... My preference is to eat meals inspired by the freshest seasonal market ingredients, many restaurants in Paris that cook this way are not able to accommodate vegans.  Of course there are exceptions on previous trips we have had memorable meals at Arpege, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon and le violin d'Ingres to name a few.  On our trip last week we enjoyed a thoughtful and delicious seven course meal at Verjus.  I cannot recall each dish but the meal included– smoked broccoli, roasted potato with truffle salt and radish sprout, celery root dumplings with dan dan sauce, tofu made by a friend of the chef, cranberry beans, salsify...  Everything we saw at the farmers market and more!

At the end of the meal I asked how often they cook vegan meals and was told this was their first one!  I recommend both the restaurant and wine bar downstairs to both vegetarians and omnivores alike.

A few of my favorite Paris

I just put a list together for a friend going to Paris later this month.

He has been there many times, knows the city well and has friends to visit and events to attend...I made this list of some of my favorite in between any case making this list has made me desperate for a trip to Paris...

Here is the list–

...First of all you may already do this but last trip to Paris was the first time I used my iphone to map from destination to destination, since Paris is all about walking was especially helpful in the old neighborhoods when streets tend to go in circles and having a sense of direction basically does not help at all!

Neighborhood Canal St-Martin

This is where that Tete dans L'Olives store is...about a 10-15 minute walk from most other stuff in the neighborhood, they do have a tiny 8 seat restaurant but meal or no meal I think it is worth a visit just because it is truly one of a kind place.

Le Verre Vole (food and drink), eat, drink or food to take away.

Maybe my favorite bakery in Paris...but that would be hard to say, Du Pain et Des Idees

Specific streets to wander, some independent retail mixed with stores like APC– Rue Marseille, Quai de Valmy, Quai de Jemmapes...

Neighborhood North Marais

Leave some time to wander, there are people making things mixed in with an overwhelming amount of restaurants, cafe, retail...after awhile you might say...not another $2000 robot in an old refrigerator being used as a display case, next to a hand printed tee-shirt, next to a set of pencils I cannot live without, next to the coolest jacket I have ever get the idea– jewelry, vintage, young designers, food...

wander the streets of – Rue du Vieille du Temple, Rue Charlot, Rue de Poitou, Rue Debelleyme and all the little streets near by

a new favorite clothes line discovered on last trip is Venus et Judes 22 rue Debelleyme (wearing their jeans this second)

Merci, 111 Bd Beaumarchais ( a little walk from above streets...could be a combination or a separate destination), Not only is it a solidly good store in a very thought out way...100% of profit goes to charity!!

Two of my favorite farmers markets

Bastille Market open Sunday and Thursday, Lebanese guy makes these sandwiches on dough that he rolls out on this thing that looks like a gigantic pasta maker and then cooks on metal drums, soap maker, salt guy, where I always buy Salt Gris to take home (all three of these spots are closer to the Bastille end of the market)

Marché des Enfants Rouges, not open Mondays and closes mid-day, Small semi covered market I adore, good to get lunch, picnic tables available for eating

A Museum...again there are so many but this is one you might miss...

Musee Carnavalet, Most random Paris history museum.  Kind of like someones basement that happens to be filled with random old stuff from Paris...I expect at some point it will be redone but it is beautifully not put together right now.  Located in a fantastic building with memorable garden.

Merci the store

On our recent trip to Paris we discovered a new favorite, a store called Merci– a seemingly casually and clearly perfectly curated and designed space that includes– dining, men and women's clothing, a used book store, art, sculpture, a home section, art supplies, bedding and kitchen supplies.

Not only was it possibly my favorite store I have ever been to but all money made beyond operating costs is donated to charity– the following is from their website.



"I have what I gave 'Jean Giono

Thank you ...

IS AN IDEA in response to a question: How TO How to be FIXED? How to generate funds in a sustainable manner without calling for donations or charity?

IS THE IDEA that one can give his expertise, his time, talent, energy ... by creating success. This was done by the founders, Marie-France and Bernard Cohen, after selling Bonpoint imagining AN EXCEPTIONAL run as a commercial classical and effective and not as a charity store.

That's what some DESIGNERS by producing a special model for Thank you and agreeing to give up their margins. These products are identified by the small gold medal.

That's what the founders being totally volunteer and donating the profits of that business to an endowment they have created to HELP the poor children of the poorest, especially in Madagascar.

This is what the providers PARTICIPATING Thanks, if they wish, to the endowment fund.

We look forward to you reporting the results of this first year. You are SUCCESSFUL thank you! Without you nothing is possible. Thank you.

Canal Saint Martin, neighborhood Paris

I have been stalking the Canal St. Martin neighborhood for more than a decade now.  The first time I visited I knew that it is where I would choose to live if moving to Paris.  It was a perfect place to wander, we found a coffee shop, a book store and a large Antoine and Lili store but it was not full of shopping, galleries or other commerce that often bring you to visit a neighborhood– it just appealed as an excellent place to live.  On subsequent visits we saw new stores popping up, more cafes and it is both a great place to live and a destination.

When deciding where to stay on our most recent trip I learned that a new small hotel had recently opened right on the canal, I did not hesitate, I made a reservation at Le Citizen.  In addition to the hotel being located in what I consider the perfect spot there were many other advantages it was– small, comfortable, you get an ipad lent to you upon check in, the staff and owner are knowledgeable and helpful, the construction and practices are ecologically short it was hard to leave and we will stay there on our next trip.

Staying on the canal gave us a chance to explore the neighborhood, on the street (rue de Lancry) between Jacques Bonsergent (our metro stop) and the hotel there is a paper shop, a fabulous flower store, a variety of small specialty food shops– Italian, Lebanese, Greek, fruit...a late night falafel joint that proved invaluable for an after ballet snack one night, intriguing clothing and vintage stores and a fabulous design bookstore.  There are also several spots that beg you to stop for a drink or a glass of wine including Le Verre Vole and Hotel du Nord.

The blocks surrounding Le Citizen were full of food shops, clothing stores, galleries, flower shops, cafes... I am anxious to explore each one on future visits.  We did find two new favorites: a bakery, Du Pain et Des Idees and La Tete Dans Les Olives.

Since "discovering" Du Pain et Des Idees I learned that the excellent bread is not exactly a secret...Alain Ducasse serves bread from this bakery at his Paris 3 star restaurant, Plaza Athenee.  The Pain des Amis is one of the best breads I have ever tasted– slightly fermented, nutty, whole wheat and woodsy.  We also tried a stuffed bread that was kind of like a French version of an empanada filled with olives and thyme– memorable.  I have no doubt that everything from this bakery is worth trying.

La Tete Dans Les Olives is about a 10 minute walk from Le Citizen hotel.  The tiny store is packed with products from Sicily.  The owner travels to Sicily every year for the olive harvest and processing of the oil and returns back to Paris with a variety of oils that he has made.  He does not own property but rather visits friends olive farms and the names of the oils reflect the owners of the various properties.  The processing procedure is the same for each oil but the tastes vary greatly depending on the variety of olive, soil and other growing conditions.  We tasted several oils and wanted to bring home one of each but settled on two, a very grassy tasting Paolo and a rich and intense oil called Francesco.  We also tasted the most delicious capers, sun-dried tomatoes, fig cookies and a dried persimmons.  This store is worth a detour!  They also do a 5 seat restaurant a few times a week, sadly there was no spaces available but it is on the top of my list for my next visit.

Eating Vegan (vegetalien) in Paris

Every time I go to Paris I forget that it is an oddity to be a vegan there.  There are outstanding ingredients– stellar vegetables, the best bread, availability of a huge variety of foods from all over the world...but the French are committed to their meat, fish, eggs, butter and cheese.  Fancy restaurants with kitchen inventories and large kitchen staffs sometimes are willing to accommodate.  However, smaller bistros with one menu and only a person or two in the kitchen are often unable to prepare a vegan meal.  There are exceptions to this, a few I know of are–  Le Clown Bar we had an excellent plate of seasonal vegetables and lentils, we were unable to get a reservation at La Tete dans les Olives or Le Comptoir (next trip!) but they seemed undaunted by our request and the underground restaurant, Soul Kitchen Supper Club said vegan would not be a problem but they were not open any of the nights we were in Paris this time.

Don't get the wrong idea, we ate well in Paris!!

There are several vegetarian restaurants in Paris, I have not been to many but we did end up eating a lovely meal in between two exhibits at the Pompidou Museum at Le Potager du Marais.  I have heard great things about several others as well.  We had a fabulous lunch made up of several small salads and extraordinary multi grain bread at Bread and Roses near the Jardin de Luxembourg.  There are many cous cous restaurants where it is easy to eat vegan throughout Paris, a favorite is Chez Omar.

Street food is plentiful and much of it is vegetarian, favorites include the Thyms Sandwich at the Bastille Market, Falafel from L As du Fallafel, Japanese choices from a stand called Taeko at Marche des Enfants Rouge (great Moroccan, Middle Eastern and Italian choices too)– and there is always the option of bread and fruit available on nearly every corner.

On our recent trip we also ate at Le Violon D'Ingres where we started with a perfectly dressed salad, followed by a plate of spring vegetables that included fava beans peas and morels.  We ended with a cassis sorbet and fruit.  On an earlier trip we they were happy to prepare a memorable vegan meal for us at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon.

Our last night we splurged and ate at Arpege a Michelin 3 star restaurant that is unique in that it has an emphasis on vegetables.  They were happy to work with us and forgo dairy as well.

Our meal was made up of lots of tiny courses–

Beet on cracker with chocolate

Potato noodles with herb vinaigrette

Spinach with sesame and bitter orange

Salad with hazelnut butter

Beet and chocolate with balsamic vinegar and spring onion

Yellow beet carpaccio with chervil

Black radish carpaccio with lemongrass

Green radish with caramelized radish and green tea

Baby vegetables with cous cous and cumin

Cassis Pates

Orange and apple with mint and argon oil

Apple and pineapple with olive oil lime sauce and candy


Already dreaming of our next visit!

New Chocolate Shop, Un Dimanche A Paris

Here in Paris there is artisan chocolate everywhere you turn.  A few of our many favorites– Josephine Vannier, in the Marais, Jacques Genin, near Republique, Francois Pralus, next to the Pompidou and although not a chocolate store we had the most delicious chocolate sorbet (ingredients chocolate and water) at Bertillion, the Ile St. Louis ice cream maker, yesterday.

A new noteworthy store, Un Dimanche A Paris close to Odeon opened late last year.  The owner is Pierre Cluizel the son of the chocolatier Michel Cluizel (his chocolates are available at Biagio in DC).  He is calling the space a concept store and it includes a chocolate shop, patisserie, bar, restaurant and lounge.  There are also cooking classes a tasting room and  a gorgeous all glass kitchen and another teaching kitchen.  The space is large and luxurious, the chocolate outstanding...

I left the store with a variety of dark chocolates and am bringing home some Paillettes Argentees and Paillettes Dorees, silvery and golden glitters, that I plan to use on baked goods.

Street Food, Paris, Thyms, Bastille Market

I know it is cliche to say, "I love Paris", but I do! Just arrived this morning and immediately after dropping off our bags the first stop was in search of a farmers market sandwich that we had tasted at the Bastille Market 3 years ago!

I remembered that the stand was at the South East corner of the market which is located just north of Bastille. The market is open on Sunday's and Thursday's only. We rushed to make it before the 2:00 closing and were thrilled to find the stand in the same place we had remembered it. I noted today that the stand is called Zaatar Wzeit and the sandwich is called Thyms.

The sandwich is made on a bread that is made by rolling dough on a large pasta like machine. The bread us then spread with a purée of sesame seeds, thyme, oregano and olive oil. It is cooked on a large metal drum an then rolled up and served wrapped in parchment paper. It was just as delicious as we had remembered an we plan to return for one more before our plane departs on Thursday. I am already plotting making my own version once I get back to my kitchen at 1508!